63 flights, 3564 calls, missed anniversaries, short-weekend trips. Welcome to the world of long distance relationships.
I met this amazing guy a year and a half back. He was perfect (almost). Tall, funny, smart, freakishly strong, someone addicted to coffee, loves travel, adventure, doesn’t back out from a 12 hour hike and listens to my moody rants — perfect. I’d found my 6’2 inches of happiness and was ready to walk into the sunset and give Disney a call. BUT, here’s the catch — he lived slightly afar. the 4 hours-by-flight kind. Fast forward to today, we are planning a wedding together and are still going strong. So I thought I’d put out a few things that have helped us along the way. So here it goes.
1. Know what you’re getting into
Unlike the movies, love isn’t easy. It definitely was the motivating factor for us to date each other but there was a lot more that went into it. Before you get into something as arduous as a long distance relationship, you have to know that it requires work. The work doesn’t necessarily start right away (ahem.. honeymoon phase), but be sure that it will soon enough. There are financial implications — are you willing to take time off, multiple flights etc.? Relocation — would you ever consider moving eventually to be together? How often can you see each other? What are you willing to sacrifice? I’ve had missed anniversaries, lonely Fridays, etc. So ask yourself if you are willing to spend that time away without developing bitterness or drifting apart.
2. Make Time
So now that you’ve decided that you want to take the plunge, make time. Relationships require time. Often there is work and a billion other commitments that may pull you away. Or you may simply just be too tired and can’t seem to sync your schedule with your partner. P.S. You can’t expect perfection, because you’d have to be understanding for this to work. But that can’t be the case each time.
So try to do things like call your partner regularly, text each other something nice when you start/end your day and be considerate if your partner needs you. Be there for them if they ask for your help or are having a hard time. As unromantic as it may sound, having a small schedule to ensure you are clocking in the love of your life will be very helpful.
A long distance relationship is almost like being in a black box of sorts. You don’t know what’s going on in the other person’s life unless you talk to them. Humans connect on shared experiences, which may be hard to create when you are miles apart. So the key is to talk, talk and talk some more. Talk about your day, ask about theirs, how you are feeling, talk about experiences, interesting stuff at work, things you would like to do, a vacation you want to take, goals, fun dates, travel, literally anything. Watch a movie/documentary/a YouTube video and discuss it with each other. Talk about your feelings — if you are stressed, sad, happy — as exhausting as it is, it helps the other person better understand and support you. Be it a healthy debate, sharing how you feel, heavy flirting or a crazy meme exchange — just communicate and it’ll do wonders.
4. Nothing like going on a (virtual) Date!
Who doesn’t like putting on their best dress and going out for that dinner. But COVID and the long distance both render that a far fetched dream. However, that doesn’t stop you from planning a virtual date from the comfort of your home. You can take it as far as dressing up and actually making dinner or simply have a fun filled conversation over coffee, the world is your playground. I personally loved setting up coffee dates where we’d both go out and grab coffee and try to take 15 minutes to talk about non-work related stuff. You can also try setting up game nights. From chess to naughtier games, there’s ideas out there for everyone.
5. Plan! Plan! Plan!
As much as love is reflected as an act of spontaneity, let’s be clear, it is not. At least not to that extent. The key to all the points above is careful consideration. Assuming that you see each other for limited periods of time, after a couple days/weeks/months even, the time you spend together is precious. That time is the foundation of your relationship, so it deserves a thought (or two).
So plan for how you’ll spend that time together. Be it making a dinner reservation, or simply buying some candles for a dinner you’ll cook, try to plan that time better. You’ll not only save time scrambling where to find brunch, but will also show each other that you value and love each other and are willing to invest time planning things your partner is interested in. You can also try to plan for a holiday you’d would love to go on, life goals, a date etc. I believe the experience will bring you closer and you’ll have something to look forward to!